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Home Explore Devoted Magazine Issue 31

Devoted Magazine Issue 31

Published by annerine, 2021-12-08 08:01:17

Description: A little boy was born on 9 March 2010, and an angel was set free on 25 November 2021 at around 00:45.

This issue is dedicated to Mika Schmunk who was an inspiration to everyone who have met him. When Mika could still write, he wrote on a piece of paper, “The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forget you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry.” (Deuteronomy, 31:8) Rest in peace, little Mika, you are now with your Father.


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Issue 31 Wellness magazine – toward a healthy and fulfilling life A tribute to Mika A story of inspiration and love Setting the record How the media Reclaiming Fake news straight, is KSB a abused my sanity from is the new technology cult? family and me reality? 1

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CONTENTS In this Edition 6 10 12 Editor’s Note: Untruths, half-truths 4&5 Front cover picture and lies are the new reality A little boy was born on 9 March 2010, and an angel Mika’s story is one of prayer 6&7 was set free on 25 November 2021 at around 00:45. and inspiration This issue is dedicated to Mika Schmunk who was Setting the record straight about a cult 8&9 an inspiration to everyone who have met him. When Mika could still write, he wrote on a piece of paper, How the media abused my family and me 10&11 “The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forget you. Don’t Reclaiming sanity from technology 12&13 be afraid. Don’t worry.” (Deuteronomy, 31:8) Rest in peace, little Mika, you are now with your Father. The truth about the Handelsinstituut 14 Credits Advertise with us & build relationships with your customers MANAGING EDITOR Gerda Potgieter We have introduced special advertising rates to help you and your business during these trying times. NOW is NOT the time to stop SUPPORTING EDITOR marketing your business, rather be more strategic and use cost- Jeannie Millington effective options. Make use of our special - see previous page. LANGUAGE EDITOR Mignionette de Bruin EditA CREATIVE AND DESIGN Annerine Lubbe Square Design Studio 071 897 6240 CONTENT DISCLAIMER: All rights reserved. While every precaution has been taken to ensure accuracy of information, the editors and Devoted magazine cannot accept liability of whatsoever nature arising out or in connection with the contents of the publication. The views expressed in this on-line publication are not necessarily those of any of the Devoted team members. It remains the sole responsibility of the writers. Like us on Facebook: www.dViesitvouor wteebdsitemat Emails: [email protected]; or [email protected] 3

Editor’s Note Untruths, half-truths, and blatant lies are the new reality… But Devoted tells the other side of the story D evoted writes about social and has a devastating impact on people’s of media content” And so, a new era of ills and the impact it has on lives. Frank Sonnenberg once said, so-called citizen journalism began where people. The pandemic has ordinary people, “armed with internet- brought another “social ill” that “It’s better to bite your tongue connected devices, create content and is growing exponentially and is just as than to eat your words”, disseminate information at the speed of devastating as the virus itself. I’m referring light”. (Read Mistura Adebusola Salaudeen to the pandemic of fake news that has and this should be a warning to us all to & Ngozi Onyechi, 2020). become the norm and impacts us all. focus on the good. People struggle to distinguish between These unprofessional journalists create real news and news with untruths, half- Another well-known saying goes, “The content with devastating consequences truths, blatant lies, and content that only thing necessary for the triumph of evil that hurt innocent people. The rise of fake has been manipulated to push certain is for good people to do nothing”. I refuse news has, over time, tainted the reputation agendas. This serious social ill has reached to be categorised as such and be part of of mainstream media as a credible source. great proportions. the problem and not the solution! This Devoted issue therefore focuses on the Alternative media Devoted is not a commercial publication, “other side of the stories”, the truth. is more authentic and it is online and free for all to read. It was born from the desire to show people The rise of citizen media Alternative media is faithful to their how God is working in the lives of God- sources and content and often challenges fearing people, even amid the chaos Mainstream media was always regarded the societal norms mainstream media and destruction around us. Slowly but as newspapers, magazines, radio, and promotes. As far back as 2001, Darrel M surely, the magazine has impacted people television, and the content traditionally West wrote in The rise and fall of the media positively over 31 issues. The Devoted team included news, reviews, and investigative establishment, “However, under time still consists of a small group of loyal and journalism. However, we can make a pressure, or when it is important to verify hardworking people who always find the case that social media platforms are a story, congruence and relevance might time to help build the Kingdom in any way now included under the umbrella of end for guiding journalists and media they can, and by sharing positive news. mainstream media outlets. also in their evaluation of a story as true Sometimes we also have to tell the other or false. Exchanging newsworthiness for side of the story to set the record straight! When the pandemic struck, and people truthfulness can be even more likely for This issue therefore give readers the true went into lockdown, they had more time online outlets producing and sharing version of events that have been reported on their hands and took to the internet to FAKES.... free from professional and incorrectly by mainstream media. socialise. And, unfortunately, the pandemic deontological standards and/or mainly to also amplified the phenomenon of fake get incoming traffic.” Dr Kenneth Meshoe once reminded news. Social media has created havoc for me, “Our struggle is not against flesh and innocent people and naïve readers who The implication here is that the media, blood. Our struggle is a spiritual struggle still believe everything they read. It has especially mainstream secular media, will against wickedness, against powers, and become difficult for readers to distinguish disregard truthfulness for newsworthiness the rulers of darkness.” Another wise between real and fake news. to generate more income. I have seen person also said, “The tongue has no bones this many times over. When mammon but is strong enough to break a heart”. To some extent, social media is becomes your master, there is no space in The untold stories in this Devoted edition regarded by many as more credible the media world for ethical journalism. demonstrate perfectly how evil the tongue than mainstream media because of The pandemic brought great financial can be! A malicious pen in the hand of a its participatory nature. And, recent losses, and mainstream media also malicious writer is even more dangerous studies show that ordinary citizens who suffered. In the quest to make up for the were previously “predominantly media losses, boost sales and circulation figures, consumers” have become “active creators 4

and with strict deadlines, it has become personal agendas. If affidavits, or any days, he remained the happy little guy he almost out of fashion to check and other documentation for that matter, always was. How many of us would have recheck facts. are provided, they must ensure they are his positive attitude and zest for life when credible and true documents. If facts are faced with death? Unscrupulous people are waiting for provided, journalists must check the facts the right moment to drag journalists into and recheck them. Before publishing a We dedicate this issue to little Mika, who their web of lies and dish up a narrative story, they must consider who the innocent stayed at the KwaSizabantu Mission in that suits their agendas. Some journalists people are that will be negatively impacted KZN and was partly raised by his beloved write about others without checking the by the story. If the price is too high to granddad, the inspirational Reverend Erlo facts, and some rely only on the stories pay, then a good journalist should rather Stegen. The bond between grandfather dished up for them by dishonest people. consider not publishing the story. and grandson was so special and spoke Other journalists simply rewrite stories and of a shared love for our Saviour and Lord, repost untruths on social media platforms Devoted inspires Jesus Christ. Mika, you will be sorely without doing their due diligence. These missed. May your beautiful soul rest in unethical journalistic practices are harmful Over the years, Devoted has focused peace! and destroy the lives of innocent people, extensively on feel-good stories that mostly without any consequences for the most media outlets ignore because they With much love, destroyers, unfortunately. are not “newsworthy” and “do not sell”. It Gerda sometimes seems that the battle is endless. Louise Pretorius’ article (inside) about The evil one has so many friends, and it is Like us on Facebook: the media’s attack on her family illustrates sometimes so hard to identify them. But we the pain unethical journalism causes. It will keep on fighting the good fight of faith demonstrates what we mean when we until our Lord Jesus returns. our newsletters and inspiring stories on say, “If you have not heard it from the horse’s mouth, you heard it from a jackass”. Devoted is all about inspiration and Share the good news articles with others How is it possible to claim (and spread helping people find the silver lining of the the story like wildfire) a person has been dark cloud! And our inspiration this time held hostage, but the “victim” denies it comes from a young boy who recently happened? died of cancer. He was an inspiration to so many in his short life, and in his last A journalist must make sure the source of information is credible and without “ I think a paradigm shift has maybe taken place in journalism towards focusing on productivity and not on the truth. One simply cannot obtain a list from a few disgruntled members of any organisation and use their stories as evidence to paint an entire organisation with the same brush. This is not the correct research methodology.” (Elfrieda Fleischmann) Untruths, half-truths, and blatant lies are the new reality… 5

is one ofMinikspai’rsastitoonryand love An angel was set free… A little boy was born on Mika was dying because of a conviction during my visit. “I trust the Lord. 9 March 2010, and an angel tumour that started over two He is with me.” was set free on 25 November years earlier at the back of his brainstem. Despite numerous Mika’s little body was broken, but his mind 2021 at around 00:45. treatments, the cancer took over his little and spirit were not. While I was looking at It is not an overstatement to body, slowly but deadly. By the time I visited him, desperately trying not to show signs him in November 2021, he had lost the use of weakness, I just knew that this little boy say that 11-year-old Mika of his arms, legs and had great difficulty would be God’s special angel. Not that he will Schmunk was an inspiration speaking. He was slowly losing his sight too. not create havoc in heaven! His greater-than- life personality will make sure that the other to everyone who ever had While others in the same boat show signs little angels will notice him! He once asked a the privilege of meeting him. of fear, uncertainty, and even denial, Mika’s ninety-plus-year-old lady, “Is your life in order While I was sitting next to him beautiful face was full of joy. He knew he was to meet the Lord?” on his way to his Father, and he was looking on his sickbed, and he was forward to the meeting. Mika was the “naughty” one, and at age dying of aggressive cancer, he four, everybody already knew that when he shared more wisdom with me This was an exceptionally hard story was around, things would happen. “What I to write, but I knew I had to share Mika’s will miss most about him is his mischievous than most adults I know. All inspirational story with the world to give personality”, his mother said with a giggle. of that in a few words - the others comfort. The tears were unashamedly “He was the busy one, the one you had to few words he was still able running down my cheek while writing Mika’s look out for to make sure that he was not to utter. The inspiration and story. I felt so much compassion for the little busy with something he was not supposed love this little boy shared with boy, his parents, and his family, and during to be busy with. so many while he was with my visit, I experienced a feeling of great loss. them must be continued to be I did not know if I was going to see this brave “And during his lengthy illness, despite little champ again. And I did not… the horrendous pain his little body had shared with many more. to cope with daily, he did not lose that I am a mother and grandmother, and I mischievousness! He was always happy. Even love my children so much and – if possible to the end, despite the pain and being sick all – adore my grandchildren even more! The the time, he remained a happy child.” selfish part of me wants to hold on to them, and I cannot bear to think that they might She laughed while she shared a memory. die before me. It would devastate me! “One day, he was sent to the bathroom to think about the mischief he had caused. It The Lord is with me became too quiet for my liking after a while. I was prompted to investigate the situation “I have put everything on the altar”, the brave and found that he used the opportunity little Mika said with great effort but a strong to cut his hair himself. With disastrous consequences!” 6

The picture she showed me spoke a Unconditional love and support never easy to contemplate the death of thousand words of a happy little boy a young child when there are so many enjoying life to the fullest, and making When dealing with the loss of a child, questions, Mika’s legacy lives on, bringing sure others noticed him. parents feel unimaginable pain and honour to His Heavenly Father. sometimes go into crisis mode. But Mika’s He wanted to work for the Lord parents, Arthur and Dorothea (or Dots as A little angel was set free, and he will she is affectionately known), were brave. I be missed… Soon after his sixth birthday, he told could see the signs of stress and a lack of everyone that he wanted to become a good rest and sleep in both their faces. I Rest in peace little one… missionary. He asked his grandfather, felt so much compassion for them but was Reverend Erlo Stegen, all the time to pray frustrated in my inability to make the pain Mika, we have shed tears when we for him. Reverend Erlo is a well-known, lighter. finally heard that you were gone, inspirational missionary who himself even though we knew that you knew from an early age that he wanted In the end, Mika was very dependent were looking forward to meeting to do God’s work. He has been blessed on his mother and wanted her with him your Creator. It was such a privilege with 26 grandchildren, but he had a very all the time. It took its toll because it is to have met you, and you were special bond with Mika. The two of them beyond challenging to care for a child at sorely loved. Your love for the Lord spoke the same language, a language of a the end of his life; and support a family was bigger, and evident for all to love for the Lord! simultaneously. But it is the rest of the enjoy. Your joy for life and positive family’s unconditional love and support, outlook on the world has put many The many pictures of the two together and especially Reverend Erlo’s, that helped of us to shame. You will be missed, are evidence of the love and special them through the challenging times. And but not forgotten. Rest in peace, bond between them. The grandfather’s the knowledge that the little man was brave one, and enjoy your time assistance with Mika’s upbringing, his ready and looking forward to meeting among the other little angels in beliefs, and the God-fearing example his Creator. your Father’s presence! he demonstrates daily to his children and grandchildren was instrumental in Little Mika will be dearly missed by From the Devoted-team moulding the little boy’s character and many people. He was an inspiration to forming the basis of his integrity. many, and his joy and zest for life, even amidst the hardship and constant pain, will not be forgotten. And although it is 7

Srsetetrticnagoitrhgedht about a cult After years of studying, Elfrieda Imet Elfrieda a few times and what struck quiet about the Lord’s work that I have seen Marie-Louise Fleischmann me was her authenticity, her love for in action at the Mission.” the Lord and people in general. Her received her second doctoral testimonies are so inspiring, and one KSB has been a topic of discussion in the degree, Philosophiae Doctorate thing that stands out from our discussions is mainstream media for quite some time now. her empathy for people. She walks the talk, The media has drawn many people into their in Theology with Missiology, and her work speaks of it also, which she web of lies. Disgruntled ex-workers primarily in 2021. In her thesis, “Erlo thoroughly enjoys. fuel the vicious attacks, but the allegations Hartwig Stegen: A missiological remain unfounded, even though the attacks evaluation of his life, ministry She was the secretary of the South African started years ago and are ongoing. and teachings”, she grounded Association of Hospital and Institutional Pharmacists in the Free State, a radio “If only these embittered ones will die her evaluation of the presenter, and a public speaker for over 10 to their own interests and follow Stegen’s KwaSizabantu Mission (KSB) in years. She has published two book chapters, example in living for others”, Elfrieda says. KwaZulu-Natal within the theory several journal articles, and a book that is in “It is possible to fool some people for some press. Additionally, she has reviewed some months, but not over more than five decades. of revivals from where she research methodology textbooks. She is He has a track record of love and compassion synthesised a Protestant Revival currently a lecturer at the Cedar International for people in need. I have decided to do Academy NPC. this thesis to provide insider information on Evaluation Criteria (PREC). the founder of one of the largest Protestant She finalised her thesis during I have huge respect and admiration for mission stations in the global south. Having a time of huge controversy for this soft-spoken and humble woman. She done this research has inspired me afresh to KSB, and it could not have come should be commended for undertaking live for others.” at a better time for her to set and completing her doctoral studies on this subject amid the ongoing controversy that For more than two years, Elfrieda did her the record straight about the KSB and its leadership experience. She says in-depth research on KSB, Revered Stegen, false allegations made against she knows the truth, has inside information, and his work. She read numerous journal KSB. She wanted to correct the and is not afraid to speak the truth, despite articles and books on the subject and the attacks that will come her way from the evaluated articles from mainstream media. lies spread by the media and people behind the onslaughts. She also listened to the reverend’s sermons individuals. KSB has been being delivered over many years and maintains wrongly accused of being a cult, When I asked why she decided to research that his messages have not changed since he and this thesis is a scientific study the specific topic and do a thesis on it, she started preaching the Gospel. immediately replied, “I know the founder of on the subject. the Mission, and I have seen him in action Her thesis adheres to stringent criteria for for many years, the love for people he reliability and validity while conforming with demonstrates daily and what he has done the academy’s specific rules and structures. over the years to help others less fortunate The North-West University even wrote about than him inspires me”. Elfrieda’s thesis: “Elfrieda gleaned qualitative data through interviews, newsletters, “I am also appalled by the many media and sermons, audio-visual material, photographs, personal onslaughts on him. He does not and other documents. ATLAS.tiTM software deserve the negative publicity. Usually, when and networks were employed during data other Christians are attacked, he is the one analysis. The findings of this study indicate who reaches out to them. My life has been that Stegen pioneered missions, mission changed at the Mission, and I cannot keep work, education, humanitarian efforts, 8

agricultural projects, and a sustainable “I have looked into the allegations, but I know what a cult is, and the question model for missions through experimental soon realised the stories did not square should be asked if those who labelled the farming. The revival among the Zulus up to the facts. On the contrary, when Mission as a cult know what a cult is? They correlates to a large extent with other confronted with Scriptural living, I have a lot to say, but maybe they have protestant revivals. Scripture played an measured my life against his life, and I fell not met up with authentic Christianity integral role in the quest for revival and short. The people who told and wrote all yet, or maybe they have been hurt in the throughout the revival. According to the those untruths about him are definitely past by Christians who do not walk their evangelical definition, KwaSizabantu not aware of his true nature. He loves talk,” she added. “If only they would have ministry cannot be classified as a people and always makes time for them, come and visited the Mission, but with cult. Fleischman’s research provided especially children. I have witnessed him an open mind, to see and experience for information for a publishable biography of using his own finances over many, many themselves what the living of Matthew Erlo Stegen, the director of KwaSizabantu years to help people out. It is sad that a 5 and 6 should be. In the process of Mission, and six journal articles, of which person who has poured himself out for producing news fast, I think a paradigm three have recently been accepted or the Zulu nation and many others over shift has maybe taken place in journalism published in nationally and internationally more than five decades should suffer so towards focusing on productivity and not accredited journals.” unduly in this time where he is supposed on the truth. One simply cannot obtain to enjoy the fruits of his life’s work.” a list from a few disgruntled members of I asked Elfrieda if she stumbled on any any organisation and use their stories as wrongdoing from KSB and Reverend “By painting a bad picture about evidence to paint an entire organisation Stegen’s side during her research, and somebody else, you sometimes feel better with the same brush. This is not the over the many years of being actively about yourself, especially when one feels correct research methodology.” involved with them, her answer was: guilty about things in one’s own life. More about the women behind the thesis Elfrieda Marie-Louise Fleischmann was born in Pretoria in January 1970. She matriculated from Linden High school in 1987 and completed her BPharm degree at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in 1992. Elfrieda completed her BSc Honours (Pharmacology) in 2001. In 2012, she obtained her MEd with distinction (84%). From 2014 to 2015, she completed her first PhD in Education, for which she received the Dean’s Prestige PhD Bursary and a National Research Foundation (NRF) freestanding bursary. Elfrieda wants to set the record straight and reveal the truth. She grounded her evaluation of the KwaSizabantu Mission within the theory of revivals from where she synthesized a protestant revival evaluation criteria (PREC). The study revealed a deepfake phenomenon within recent mainstream media’s accounts of Reverend Stegen’s 60 years of service to the people of our country, South Africa. The thesis shows that his ministry has profited remote Zulu communities over the span of more than 50 years on a large scale. An electronic version of Elfrieda’s thesis is available on the following website:, and you can also visit the catalogues on: The publication • We are an online magazine with authentic and inspiring content. • We are devoted to expose social ills such as fake news and unethical journalism. • We collaborate with like-minded people and organizations to reach a wider target audience and expand our readership. • All latest issues are available on the website free of charge. • Send us an email to secure your advertising space in the next issue. Like us on Facebook: our newsletters and inspiring stories on 9

How the mmeydiafaambuisleyd and me Early in 2021 the online C entral to the story below is Louise create awareness of the consequences of investigative magazine, Pretorius. She became addicted to the the misuse of social media, and to help Noseweek, (Issue 50 and Internet (read about this on pages 12 expose the role the media sometimes plays & 13) and her pastor, Reverend Erlo Stegen, in destroying the lives of innocent people. 51) published articles reached out to her. He arranged for help for Her side of the story has been confirmed by exposing the role News24 her, but he and KSB became the victims of those closest to her as true. the media with a series of false claims on played in spreading various media platforms. The podcasts which What struck us was that so many people, misinformation about were produced by News24 included parts the media included, know the truth but are KwaSizabantu Mission (KSB) of Louise’s testimony from years ago out of not prepared to share it. in newspapers and through context. over-dramatized podcasts. We wanted to share her story, Noseweek questioned several The allegation in the podcast because “the only thing necessary unfounded allegations of is that Louise was being held for the triumph of evil is for good so-called gross violation captive against her will, but she of human rights under the denies these allegations and said people to do nothing.” heading, “Did News24 editor- her “testimony” was used out of in-chief Adriaan Basson go We salute Louise for sharing and we have on a mission of his own?” In context. kept this article about her reality and how its quest to expose fake news her family’s lives have been badly affected and unethical journalistic The Devoted team listened to her and others, by the media unethical practices in her own practices, Devoted then got and concluded her side of the story was words and unaltered. interested in the stories completely different from those mainstream behind the stories and started media wanted its readers to believe about “It is 2019, July the 16th. I receive an to do its own investigations. this Christian Mission. Louise claims the enigmatic email raising alarm bells. When I Since then, many people media and the people who are still spreading investigate it, I find that there are rumours came forward to tell the truth the stories is nothing other than abuse; and that I am being held hostage. I burst out behind the false allegations. thousands of people dependent on the laughing. Of everything I had suspected this Mission for their livelihoods are being hurt by email being about, ‘hostage’ was the last the untruths told. thing on my mind. Louise wanted to share her family’s side “A year later, on the 19th of September of the saga. Up to now they have not been 2020, News24 starred me in their famous given a platform to speak the truth. Louise Exodus exposé as a ‘victim of brutality’ – wanted to share her story to reveal the truth without my knowledge or consent. Imagine about the KwaSizabantu Mission’s (KSB) “role” my shock at watching a national news in her so-called alleged hostage drama. She podcast and, without warning, hearing wanted to reveal the lies that are widely and my own voice being played as supporting continuously being spread on numerous evidence of a ‘victim’. After the initial shock, social media platforms and which hurt her I was furious. How dare they, a national news family (and others) so badly. At her request, organisation, publish lies about my own we provided Louise with this platform to personal experiences (and may I add, private) without my prior knowledge or consent, as an attack on the people I love most in my life? 10

“But I had full confidence in the democracy I So many true stories to be told loved. Once the truth was known, I was sure redress would be given. Alas, I was soon to be Louise Pretorius, and many others like her at the KwaSizabantu Mission disillusioned. (KSB), has been battling to set the records straight after the mainstream media onslaughts of KSB started, following unfounded allegations against “And so began the battle to prove that I the Mission. But no one is interested in the truth. These individuals are on indeed was in my right mind, was never held a mission of their own and use old postings to repost, and so the malicious captive, had no need of being ‘rescued’ by circle of fake news continues... blatant fabrications and so-called compassion, and never knew about, or consented to be used Sadly, there is a readership for fake news and untruths – a far bigger by News24. readership that helps boost circulation and eventually income through sales of magazines and newspapers. “My first response was to make a YouTube recording to set the record straight about my This untold story is for those who still believe in the good and want the own personal story that News24 and my aunt truth to be told. If you want to read more untold and inspiring stories (the author of a malicious book with a number of lifechanging events at the Mission, read the “Stories Untold on the of unfounded allegations) had taken such website, liberties with. “A few weeks later, we were sitting before the CRL commission (Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities) listening to my mother’s testimony. I sat expectantly, waiting for them to ask me questions so that I could testify that I was never held hostage. The questions never came. My mother informed them that I was there and that they were free to ask me questions, they never did. Instead, when a fellow student testified that he was with me in class during the time News24 and my aunt claimed I was being held hostage, the CRL asked him whether he was with me 24 hours every day! “I was not disheartened. There was another way of seeking redress — the Press Council. After our initial complaint, News24 responded that they had ‘noted the latter’s denial of the allegations, and says the publication is willing to grant her a right to reply – either through an interview with our journalist Tammy Petersen (preferable) or in a written piece for News24’ (direct quote taken from the Press Council’s final judgement available on the internet). Again – speechless. “Not only did the Press Council’s Ombud dismiss my complaint, but he also confused me with another witness on News24’s video called ‘Amanda’. I was staggered. They could not even be bothered to establish the basic fact of my identity before delivering a judgment. “Almost a year later, I was asked the question (by Devoted), ‘So, what is your story?’Those words were like a cool drink of sweet water after days of trekking through the desert. Was it possible that there was still someone who wanted to hear the truth?” Louise Pretorius claims , “The role of the media and the people who are still spreading the (false) stories (about KSB) is nothing other than abuse.” 11

Reclaiming sanity from technology Louise Pretorius gives “In the world of the Internet, cell phones were any comments on my latest poem. Two us insights into what it and computer games, a scourge is people had commented! I greedily devoured means to be addicted passing through our cities, stealing our the comments and had started typing replies to technology. She also minds, and robbing us of our sanity. It is the when the office door opened behind me. shares a real-life story age of connection but never have we been Hurriedly, I pressed alt-tab to switch to the of how some influencers further apart from each other than now. product processing system. Yikes! I pressed abuse social media to Never have we been more isolated. Never alt-Q by accident! I did it again, all the while discredit others (also see more vulnerable. It is the age of information, flipping diligently through the invoices on my but we swallow a mass of lies. It is the age desk. I felt my boss’s eyes on me, but I kept the article where she of freedom, but we are taken captive by my attention fixed on my screen and typed a shares how the media ideologies. It is the age of prosperity, but we barcode as quickly as I could: 6003294857734. has impacted her and her are left spiritually bankrupt! The product popped into the report. Quantity. Price. I heard my boss’s office door close family’s life). “Hidden behind the screens, our children behind me and breathed a sigh of relief. It had We have not altered see what they should never have seen. worked. Adrenaline made my heart pound, Louise’s article, as it They read what no one has a right to write. and I felt nervous and jittery. I needed to get comes from a pure heart. They learn what we have never taught them. rid of the anxiety. I opened my 7-Cups-Of-Tea This scourge passes unseen through our front account and waited in the cue for a listener. doors, penetrating every part of our home and family life, leaving death and devastation “By the end of the day, I had completed only in its wake… anxiety, depression, suicide. It five pages of the invoice. Having explained to targets our youth but does not leave the rest my boss that my other administrative work of us untouched. was so much that I could not finish processing the invoices, I had arranged with the IT guys to “It is praised as progress, advocated as remote-control into my office, so I could work education, and endorsed as true culture. that night. I was the diligent office worker who Silently, this scourge destroys lives. One by was prepared to work overtime from home! one, they fall. Those who stand and raise the alarm are backward, anti-progress and “And now it was 3 o’clock, and I was still called technophobes. We are becoming a only on page nine. I still had 11 pages to go. cloud-based generation, building magnificent I finally crawled into bed half an hour later, castles – in the sky. Trading reality for leaving my work incomplete but feeling warm fantasy… and satiated by the beautiful story I had read on Harlequin. Who cared that tomorrow I had “It was 3 o’clock in the early morning hours, to be at work at 07:30? and I was still sitting in front of my computer. I had remote-controlled into my office “Late reports, lost invoices, unprocessed desktop and was supposedly working, but documents, questions, looks, suspicions. behind the cover of my screen, I was reading These became the hounds baying at my heels, a free novel from Harlequin. It was the fourth driving me more and more to the ostensible story that night. asylum technology offered me even as it perpetuated the vicious circle of anxiety, panic “During the day, at the supermarket, we attacks and eventually depression. My poems had received a delivery, and I had to process became darker, my sessions on 7-Cups-Of-Tea a 20-page document of products. I managed longer and the escape that Harlequin and to do one page, but finding it boring, I logged Smashwords offered me sweeter. into my All Poetry-account to see if there 12

“In his book, Digital Cocaine (2016), Brad from me. I read through the instructions doomed to be a prisoner of this darkness Huddleston writes, ‘In the past 25 years, of my method of choice a couple of times. for the rest of my life. All the love and care the mental health of teenagers has been All I would need was a bare razor blade my family lavished on me did nothing. I was declining at an alarming rate. Problems and a bathroom tub. I closed the website convinced that there was no more hope for such as depression and anxiety have and shut down my computer, preparing me. There was no erasing of the past. increased by 70% among adolescents. I find to go down for lunch. I would pass by it interesting that this 25-year time frame the kiosk on my way out and purchase the “When my family began commenting corresponds with the popularisation of razor blade. on my weight loss, I did not believe them the Internet… we now know that media until I stood on the scale one day. I weighed multitasking compounded by the Internet “Suddenly, my phone rang. It was my 39kg. My physician, concerned about my is a contributing factor to negative chemical pastor, Reverend Erlo Stegen, asking that I continual pain and weight loss, sent me for changes in the brain’. come and see him. My heart skipped a beat. a CT scan, colonoscopy, and gastroscopy. I entered his office eagerly and sat down, All the tests came back clear. As far as the “I experienced these negative chemical waiting for him to finish a call. He turned specialist was concerned, I could return to changes, compounded by the disintegration to me, his eyes full of compassion and pity. work the next day. I burst into tears. Would of my personal and professional life as a God had shown him that I was in trouble, we never find out what was wrong with me? direct result of the Internet. I was 19 with a and he had invited me to share my burden After more tests, my physician finally told not-insignificant job in a large supermarket. with him. My mouth hung open. I knew me that I had Fibromyalgia. I reacted with I was capable and intelligent. I had a that I had taken such precautions that no hysterics, laughing, and then bursting wonderful career glittering ahead of me. person could have told him this. Though into tears. Until I lost it to technology… they suspected, there was no proof. And I knew that no person could have told him “My parents never gave up on me. “As my depression grew, those around me about the website I had just visited. My tears They encouraged me to go and see a started worrying. I would come home, close started flowing. God still cared about me! certain lady on the Mission (KwaSizabantu). my bedroom door, and refuse to come out I had believed that I was a failure, ear- Her name was Jabu Majola. After my time for meals. I would discuss my relationships, marked for hell, and the sooner I got at Ntabankulu, I could speak almost fluent feelings of worthlessness and anxiety at there, the better, but here was my pastor Zulu, and once again, I poured out my grief great lengths on 7-Cups-Of-Tea, and I would extending hope and help to me. I poured and sorrow. She took me under her wing get the kind of sympathy and reassurance out my heart to him, holding nothing back. and patiently guided me back to sanity. that I craved. The bright, happy, cheerful He asked me if I did not want to go to a She sat with me for hours listening, girl that I had been turned into a sullen, farm, far away from any technology, where I advising, rebuking, guiding. I gave my life depressed, withdrawn rebel. would have time to put my life in order? anew to Jesus Christ, broke with Satan and I grabbed at the opportunity. the miracles started happening. One by “I had learnt to cover my tracks. Do not one, the links in the chain that bound me log in to your account when you go online. “A week later, I was in rural Africa, mentally and spiritually were broken, and I Use incognito mode. Give PDF books amongst the donkeys, thorn trees and was finally free. commonplace names such as ‘Maths 101’ mud huts. For the first time in two-and- or ‘Music theory’. Use pseudonyms. a-half years, I was enjoying the sun, clean “I remain with some of the consequences Do not give any identifiable information air, and novelty of the outside world. I had of my actions, Fibromyalgia. Every day I about yourself online. a comfortable room to myself, installed wake up with pain and fatigue despite with an aircon to keep the summer heat medication, struggling sometimes to do “Then the honeymoon was over. away. I could take long walks through the the simplest of tasks. But how lovingly The comments on my poems had lost their pineapple and dragon fruit plantations I am carried in prayer by my spiritual ability to boost my mood. I chatted to three down to the Tugela River that flowed at the mentor, Jabu Majola, and my parents and listeners at a time on 7-Cups-Of-Tea, all border of the farm. I was also provided with grandmother. There is no recrimination, reassuring me that I was ‘strong and would a spiritual mentor with whom I could speak. only love and a willingness to help me live get through it’, even as my depression and Long, patient hours did she spend with me, the fullest life that I can. I am studying for anxiety grew. I depleted the ‘safe’ books on unravelling the scrambled mess my brain my teaching degree and have a full life, Harlequin and Smashwords, moving on to had become. Forgetfulness, anger, and playing a musical instrument, writing poetry harder content that left me in a continual irresponsibility had become the defining and being at home. I have decided to have a state of dissatisfaction. I needed more and characteristics of my life. I used to bundle ‘dumb’ phone (as opposed to a smartphone) more. Books give ideas, and I found myself my dirty clothes in a heap and pull my bed and to limit my hours on my computer, and moving into porn and indecent chat sites. cover over it. At night I would dump it over I do not regret it at all. Technology is a tool, According to an article by The Witherspoon the side and sleep peacefully. I had lost all not the ruler of my time and mind. Institute quoted in Brad Huddleston’s book, sense of personal dignity. this foray into the world of pornography “How great is God’s grace, and how deep released chemicals into my brain mirroring “Then I suddenly became ill. The is my gratitude for Kwasizabantu Mission. that of using cocaine and heroin. Together. emotional and mental stress that I had Reverend Erlo Stegen, Ms Dube and Ms At one shot. placed myself under for two and a half years Majola have been instrumental in helping had finally caused my body to crack under me reclaim my sanity from technology. “The darkness was growing, the anxiety the strain. I returned home, broken in body spiking and my ability to enjoy anything – and spirit, once again feeling a failure. With “This is my real story.” gone. Once again, my beloved friend, the warm love, my family accepted me back Internet, came to my rescue. I did not want again. I was now 24 years old, but I felt as if I Note: Readers can watch Louise’s story, ‘KwaSizabantu to botch my suicide attempt, so I searched were 50. For a whole year, I moved between Mission Hospital Abuse Eyewitness Account – Erika the net on ‘how to commit suicide’. Results my bed, the kitchen, and the bathroom. Bornman’s niece speaks out’ by following the link: popped up on my screen. After glancing I did nothing. Depression claimed my mind through them, I found a wonderful site that and made me believe that I was useless, a explained in detail different methods of failure, the black sheep of the family, and removing myself from my problem since nothing I was doing removed my problem 13

REVIEW: The truth about the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut The book, Die Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut “Afrikaner businesses will (AHI) – Die kaalkop waarheid oor 75 jaar that although tertiary education will always survive in the country van hoogte- en laagtepunte by Tom be important and that the technical training, (South Africa) and will Moodie is a great read for those who are skills, and business opportunities that emerge interested in the Afrikaner’s history. The book from it will form the nucleus for business continue to be a factor to by this well-known leader in the business opportunities and propositions for future take into account in the world is currently only available in Afrikaans. Afrikaans business owners. He believes that family businesses among Afrikaans speakers future.” Tom Moodie At its peak, the AHI represented 9 000 in South Africa will increase substantially in businesses. In 2017, the AHI adopted a new the future. The book is available at R280 Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) and plus R70 for the courier fee. changed its name to the Small Business The book is about the struggling years You can direct your order to Institute (SBI). Moodie’s association with the of economic slavery and submissiveness of AHI spans more than 40 years, and in the pioneer Afrikaner business owners who have Tom Moodie at book, he boldly tells the truth about what grown to economic maturity with business [email protected] or happened behind the scenes without turning leaders in many areas of the South African a blind eye. He shares the highs and lows economy. It describes the drive to continue 072 237 3190. of events and circumstances that led to the with the AHI and how it happened that the change in the organisation. The book also AHI, its members (the Afrikaans-speaking provides valuable information about who businessmen), and the Afrikaner people fell was in the AHI, who served where, and who back so quickly within 25 years – only “to be received awards, making it an important engulfed again in the vortex of illiteracy and source of reference for the future. poverty”. Moodie successfully documents the Moodie ponders the probability of an economic history of the Afrikaner from invisible force behind the organisation’s the Volkskongres in 1939 in an interesting, recognition, bringing about the change to the logical, and meaningful way, as the history AHI. He deals tactfully with the cultural, social, of the organisation is, to a large extent, also and political service of a business organisation represented and embodied by the Afrikaner’ like the AHI in the book. He discusses the economic history. He wrote the book in a AHI’s role as a beacon for many Afrikaner comfortable Afrikaans idiom style. The fact businesses during its existence. that the SA Academy for Science and the Arts made a financial contribution to the book’s The book deals with the emancipation writing speaks volumes of the importance, process over the 75 years that led to economic and the necessity, of writing a book about maturity and the business model and sphere this once-prestigious Afrikaner organisation. of influence that the AHI exercised. During this It is unlikely that another book will be written time, the AHI empowered employees in the about part of the Afrikaner’s economic history, service of its members. It made an indelible making Moodie’s book a keepsake. contribution to providing infrastructure in the form of housing, opening shops, starting Moodie describes and records the factories, mining mines, establishing banks, successes, disappointments, and what building societies, and other activities, it meant to AHI members in an honest, through which it has provided more unobtrusive way. It is admirable that he has prosperity in the country. managed to see, describe, retell, and clarify the cause and consequence of events over Moodie also examines why the “rules of seven decades. In an epoch of order, it is the game” changed in 1994, the gradual inevitable that prominent business leaders’ anglicisation until the inevitable MOI and toes will be trampled on. name change, the debacle at the 1965 fight congress in Durban, the AHI apologising to Over the years, the Institute’s principle the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for has been not to abandon the Afrikaans past injustices, the first black AHI president, language. In the book, Moodie argues that the SA Council for Business Women, and a new generation of Afrikaans-speaking much more. entrepreneurs in the country is flourishing, forming part of a new Afrikaner survival The well-known economist Dawie Roodt strategy. The political order in South Africa, wrote the foreword to this must-read book. which advocates a policy of affirmative I would recommend reading Die kaalkop action, forces Afrikaans speakers to start waarheid to anyone with a point of contact businesses to create jobs for their children with the AHI and an interest in the events and future generations. Moodie’s also states and achievements of Afrikaner business and business activities over the last 75 years. 14

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